Biomedical Wastes

Our environment is degrading day by day. India with its growing population is also keeping up with the waste generation.

Nowadays pollution is everywhere whether its air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, noise pollution, radioactive pollution and the pollution from E waste what not?

Biomedical Waste( BMW) is any waste produced during the diagnosis treatment or immunization of human or Animal Research activities retaining threat or in the production the testing of biological or in health camps.

Let the waste of the ‘sicks’, not ruin the life of the ‘healthy’

Common generator of Biomedical wastes are :-

  • Hospital
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Medicinal Research Laboratories
  • offices of physician , dentist, veterinarians
  • home Health Care
  • funeral homes

From WHO stats 2000,the improper treatment of medical waste( primary use of infected needles and syringes) caused 21 million hepatitis B infection and 2, 60, 000 HIV infections worldwide.

During this pandemic situation, we have witnesses another huge list of Biomedical Waste generation in India. India generated over 18000 tons of covid-19 related biomedical waste in starting 4 months of this pandemic. This includes personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, face mask, head cover, plastic coverall, hezmet suit and syringes among others.

Types of Biomedical Waste

Infectious waste

  • Suspected of containing pathogen in a sufficiently large quantity or concentration to result in disease in susceptible host.
  • Cultures and stock of infectious Agent from laboratory.
  • Waste from operation and autopsies on patient with infectious disease.
  • Waste having come into contact with infected hemodialysis patient.

Pathological waste

  • Infectious material containing dead tissue may conceal specially dangerous and communicable infectious Agent.
  • Include – blood, body fluid, tissues, organs, body parts, human foetus etc.
  • Subcategory of pathological waste is Anatomical waste.
    • Consist of identifiable human or animal body parts healthy or otherwise.

Radioactive waste

  • Waste generated during the different application of radioisotopes in biological research on medicine.
  • May contain infectious biological components from Anatomical, research or clinical sources.
  • By product of various nuclear Technology process.
  • Include-
    • Nuclear medicine
    • nuclear research
    • Nuclear power
    • Manufacturing
    • construction
    • Caol
    • Rare Earth mining
    • Nuclear weapon reprocessing

Pharmaceutical waste

  • Contaminated or expired drugs and vaccine as well as antibiotics and pills.
  • Result from many activities and location in health care facilities.
  • Small quantities at households can often be thrown away in the municipal waste stream.
  • But large quantities kept at pharmacies distribution Centre, Hospital etc. be managed to minimise the risk of release or to exposure to the public.

Genotoxic waste

  • Waste from drugs that are used in radiotherapy and units.
  • One of the type of hospital waste that are extremely dangerous and may cause cell mutation or cancer.
  • Cytotoxic drugs are main components.
  • Include –
    • Urine
    • Faeces
    • Vomit treated with Chemicals or cytotoxic drug.


  • Object that are Sharp enough to cut or puncture the skin.
  • Transmit infections directly into the bloodstream.
  • Generally treated as highly hazardous medical waste regardless of whether they are contaminated or not.
  • Includes –
    • knife
    • Blades
    • Infusion set
    • Needles
    • Broken Glass
    • Nails
    • Scalpel

Chemical waste

  • Contain radioactive element poses particularly difficult problem of disposal.
  • Includes –
    • Heavy metal from Medical appliance
    • Disinfectant
    • Solvent
  • Difficulty in disposal are partly technical and partly political
    • The radioactive constituent that find their way into groundwater and surface water must be kept to exceedingly small amount for very long time.
    • Fear of mysterious effect of radiation, politician reluctant to consider disposal of radioactive waste in the area of their constituent.

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